Sunday, May 18, 2014

18 May 2014

The security forces positioned around Fallujah that launched their military operations more than a week ago in an offensive against the city have surprised everyone today by ending their operations, while continuing their aerial strikes, in an apparent result of calls made by the local government and civil organizations to avoid the targeting civilians in their military operations. The security forces are now camped less than 4 kilometers from the city limits, but they are still bombarding residential districts; initial reports today indicate that 4 residents were killed and 4 others were wounded in the shelling aimed at these districts and districts in the northern and south/southwestern sectors of the city.

In Ramadi, the situation is relatively calm and life is returning to normal in the city. Today we observed that classes are being held at Anbar University as well as in the schools located in the calmer districts. The Education Ministry had earlier announced the postponement of exams until further notice in Ramadi, Fallujah, and Al-Khalidiya; however it has allowed schools in the safe districts within these cities to hold exams. Students among the displaced families in other Anbar regions are also being allowed to sit for their exams in their temporary locations.

Also in Ramadi, there is some activity in the public markets and residents are moving around but they are afraid of the renewal of military operations in Ramadi. Some residents took part in a demonstration in the city center, demanding that both the security forces and the gunmen leave the residential districts in order to allow the return of the displaced migrants.

In the western town of Al-Rutba, the leader of the local government council today announced that 1,000 Fallujah migrants will be received by his township. Meanwhile, aid agencies are still trying to provide some food aid to those who have been displaced to the governorate's western townships, but their living conditions and the shortages are making life very difficult for them. The local government has called on the central government to provide the funds allocated in the budget for the relief of the migrants.

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